Best Asics Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Running… something we do everyday. Whether we are running to a meeting or to catch a bus, running is a pillar of any physical activity. So, if you find yourself running a bit farther than that meeting or the bus, you need to be smart, informed and aware of what you put on your feet. A runner’s foot is the piece that connects our body to the road much like your car’s tire to the highway beneath.
Each different kind of vehicle today has their own type of tires based on the style of driving, vehicle size and the terrain it will be on. Your shoes are like tires…they need to be exactly what you need to be the best runner you can be.
- ASICS GEL Nimbus 17
- Breathable Mesh
- Gait Enhancing
- ASICS GEL Kayano 21
- Moisture Wicking
- Heel Clutching System
- ASICS GT-2000 3
- ComforDry Sockliner
Choosing a running shoe can often be such a demanding, dizzying and frustrating event that we do one of two things: we either keep running in them well beyond their expiration date or we stick to one shoe (despite the ever changing designs of the same shoe) in order to NOT have to sort through all of the colors, designs, uses and prices.
The 15 Best Asics Shoe reviews are exactly what you need to read in order to get you back on the right foot. Whether you are, or are not an Asics owner, there is enough information in this list to either keep you in the family or perhaps show you where and how your current running shoe is failing.
15 Best Asics Running Shoes
1. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 20
We wouldn’t be talking about ASICS if we didn’t mention their adaptive GEL system at least once. ASICS own shock absorption system consists of a layer of gel that distributes the shock evenly through the midsole upon impact. Their GEL is a patent compound with unique impact-absorbing abilities and highly cushioning properties. The Adaptive GEL delivers greater cushioning as you start to fatigue, adjusting to your level of performance.
Improved upper fit
The combination of carefully engineered materials brings the upper build the adaptiveness it needs to support and comfort your foot. A combination of Gradient Mesh and 3D print deliver just the perfect fit. This new upper build makes the perfect combination of both flexibility and support at the same time. Furthermore, a new lasting method opens more space around the toe-box.
The GEL-Nimbus 20 is one of the most expensive ASICS footwear at the moment of the release. A beginner to runner may be discouraged to buy this because of its cost, but professional runners will know the level of technology that is applied to this shoe. This is far from being an initiator pair of shoes. Professional equipment is never cheap. Given its functionality, we believe the price is fair.
Suitable for trail running and trekking
Cushioned insole provides inner comfort
Highly breathable materials allow air to flow freely
Compatible with gym activities
Not as much cushioning as its predecessor
2. ASICS GEL-Kayano 24
The ASICS GEL Kayano 24 counts with the innovative Impact Guidance System technology. It’s created with the sole purpose of assisting the foot in executing the most natural and stress-less range of motion. The linked componentry keeps the foot in a neutral position and enhances its natural gait coming off the heel strike to the lift of the toes. This has a series of long-term positive effects on your posture, joint health, and running form.
FlyteFoam® Midsole Technology
Realistically speaking, rubber is a thing of the past. The FlyteFoam midsole technology is exactly where eyes should be in terms of midsole materials. This compound delivers unique bounce back and responsiveness regardless of your weight, foot size, and running distance. Using only organic super-fibers, FlyteFoam is able to improve shock absorption and responsiveness at once. Its clever design helps reduce packing out that normally happens with low-density foams.
The GEL Kayano 24 exceeds the average value of the list, making it somewhat expensive. The Kayano 24 measures pretty evenly with the other best shoes on the list, and the amount of implemented technologies is enough reason to buy this shoe. Comfort, support, and lightweightness are three of the main aspects of this shoe. If you can afford the purchase, we recommend it.
FluidFit upper build
Reinforced heel cushioning
New FlyteFoam midsole compound
Great responsiveness and bounce back
Supports heavy users
Some users disapprove the new fit of the Kayano
Made from thin materials
3. ASICS GT-2000 6
The evolution of the DouMax technology through the years has grown to make it one of the key aspects of ASICS running shoes. This system gives a whole new meaning the stability and support, offering more than ever while making the shoe weight less. The increased platform support will keep your foot in a natural position all day. It doesn’t get any better than that; you get more support, at less weight.
Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Technology Cushioning System
When one cushioning system just doesn’t cut it, ASICS puts their GEL cushioning technology system on both the rearfoot and the forefoot. Enjoy the benefits of shock attenuation on the foot overall during both impact and take off phases. It also permits motions in different planes while the foot transitions through the range of motion of a running gait. Your foot is now protected from the impact as a whole.
This shoe sits just around the average value of the list, which is why we believe it’s a great purchase. While it’s still certainly costlier than your average running shoe, this kind of neutral running footwear is far from being a traditional pair of shoes. You’re getting the newest footwear technology available at the moment of the release. We believe this is a fair purchase.
Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning
DuoMax support system
Lighter than ever before
Improved upper build structure provides more space and prevents irritation
Some users reported tightness around the toe box, may affect wide feet users in particular
4. ASICS GT-1000 6 G-TX
The GT-1000 series comes with a sixth release accompanied by the Gore-Tex membrane. By having these membranes on the upper build, the shoe prevents water without having to seal to shoe internally. This means that the shoe lets the air flow freely as it moves around while being waterproof.
The ComforDry sockliner lies within most ASICS neutral shoes, and it plays a vital role in the action that goes on inside the shoe. This particular sockliner lies on top of the midsole, designed to deliver one further layer of cushioning and hygienic underfoot comfort. Aside from increasing the cushioning, comfort, and softness of the shoe, this sockliner prevents the generation of bacteria and odors.
Just like the GT-2000 6, the GT-1000 6 GTX sits around the average value of the list, despite being slightly cheaper than its counterpart. If you need a shoe that you can rely on to enter wet or humid environments, the Gore-Tex membrane on this shoe can get to be your best friend. Keep in mind that many shoes cost the same as this while including no GTX.
Gore-Tex waterproofing membrane
Highly breathable upper build
Improved heel and ankle support
No optional width, standard only
5. ASICS Gel-Quantum 360
Comfort is all the buzz about this shoe. The GEL 360° advantage is not all talk… this is the real deal. Not just forefoot or midfoot… this is ALL GEL! We all know comfort is at the top of the “must have” list when it comes to our running shoes.
This is certainly not an entry level shoe based on all the high end workings involved in its pedigree. If performance is your goal then this is one shoe that should make your short list. Comfort levels akin to evey runners liking, add the level of performance, and you have a winner.
Cost and Value
Not the least expensive shoe on the shelf but if comfort and performance is worth a higher price, then maybe this is the shoe you’ve been looking for. Reviews suggest that it is worth the slightly higher price and that the rewards and satisfaction outweigh the split second of pain when buying this shoe; at the end of your run, you will agree.
- 360° GEL is more than a welcomed feature
- Seamless construction
- High performance shoe
- Perfect neutral racing shoe
- Breathable glove-like fit
- Wearing on outer sole inevitable
- Questionable quality on outside upper
6. ASICS GEL-Flux 4
An innovative SpEVAFoam compound is implemented as the midsole material for the GEL-Flux 4. This compound is unique to this series and is a new initiative by ASICS to make lighter and better materials that will replace the rubber. This particular foam has highly responsive capabilities, using your own energy to propel you forward on each gait. It’s also a highly compressible and durable foam that decreases the midsole breakdown.
A special outsole pattern allows for a deep vertical flex groove that decouples the tooling around the line of the range of motion to increase the effectiveness of each gait. This helps your foot stay in a much more natural position while running, reducing joint stress and improving your running form. Despite only working in a vertical plane, the Guidance Line keeps your foot in the right direction at all times.
The GEL-Flux 4 is one of the most affordable items on this list, as it sits considerably below the average value of all items. This is partly because it’s a discontinued model, meaning it will no longer be manufactured. It counts with every single aspect of running performance you may be looking to enhance, and given its value, we believe it’s a very good purchase.
Unique SpEVAFoam midsole compound
Guidance Line technology keeps the foot neutral
Durable construction with minimalist materials
Great for running long distances
Rearfoot and forefoot GEL system
This particular GEL-Flux model has been discontinued, meaning it will no longer be produced.
Already-existing shoes may still be purchased.
7. ASICS GEL-Noosa Tri 11
ASICS likes to experiment with newer and better compounds, which is why most series feature a unique compound for each of its elements. The GEL-Noosa Tri 11, in particular, features the solyte compound as its main component for the construction of the midsole. The highly-compressible and dense compound allow it to offer much more bounce back, support, and shock-absorption at the same time. All of this while still having less weight.
Propulsion Trusstic® Technology
The Propulsion Trusstic technology mimics the human body’s connective tissue and the way it’s formed. By resembling the natural composition of feet, the shoe creates tension as the foot enters in the propulsion stage of each gait. This optimizes the running range of motion and the explosive power of every gait. Thanks to this, you run not only more natural but also faster at the same time.
The GEL-Noosa Tri 11 is a particularly neutral shoe in terms of value, it sits slightly below the average value of this list. However, considering this is a pair of shoes that act as both running footwear and triathlon footwear, the price is only fair for this pair. The durability of this particular item also contributes to its pleasing cost-to-performance ratio. We recommend this purchase.
The print glows in the dark
The perforated design is highly breathable
Anti-slippage outsole design
Propulsion Trusstic technology
Discontinued product; the GEL-Noosa Tri 11 is no longer being produced. Already-existing products may still be purchased
Lacks GEL cushioning system around the forefoot
8. ASICS Animal Pack
Kids are tough on shoes: FACT. So why not build a fun looking, kid-appealing shoe that is based on a lineage of craftsmanship and quality. Animal Pack is not just fluff...it was designed to survive the daily rigours kids put their shoes through.
From the Hook and Loop Fastener to the obviously rugged exterior, this design has been able to encompass both fun and function. A shoe line based around animals like bunnies and lions? Every kid will be roaring and hopping for these fun shoes.
Cost and Value
A very affordable shoe for the youngest kind that gives you a historic brand name along with great construction and design… all you can look for in this classification of shoe.
- Attractive design
- Many animals choices for all tastes
- Insole measuring system
- Kids can wear anytime, any activity
- The Hook and Loop Fastener may slow down lace tying lessons
- Not made in adult sizes!
9. ASICS GEL-Surveyor 5
This sockliner is carefully designed to act as a further layer of cushioning and as an agent that takes care of the inner build at the same time. The removable sockliner has moisture wicking properties that deliver a better inner environment for the foot. Thanks to the sockliner, odors and the development of bacteria are prevented, as well as fungi and other consequences of sweat and irritation.
The FluidRide patent technology by ASICS is a key element to the Surveyor series. This piece of midsole technology acts as a responsive agent and a cushioning agent at the same time. With highly compressible and absorptive properties, the FluidRide technology is the ideal tool for neutral running shoes. The more energy you give, the more boost you get in return. The compound is also very light.
The fifth edition of the Surveyor features a pretty similar price as its predecessors, which means this edition is located below the average in terms of cost. This is not a shoe that will break anytime soon after your purchase, so if it’s the right pair for your feet, it will most likely be an excellent pair. Overpronators who usually have to pay extra money for custom shoes may fall in love with the Surveyor 5.
Lightweight construction in general
Highly breathable and flexible upper
Great heel and arch support for neutral users
Assists light to medium overpronators
Users reported tightness on the side panels of the shoe
The toecap material seems to scuff pretty easily
10. ASICS GEL-FujiTrabuco 6
As runners we all know how annoying it is to deal with laces; if they’re too short, they don’t work. If too long, you step on them. The Fujitrabuco 6 is now the exception to this issue, as it counts with an internal pocket that allows laces to remain in tension while being unexposed. This ensures your laces won’t become untied during any of your runs. It’s as easy as lacing, tucking in, and running.
You never know what obstacles you’ll come across when hitting a trail run. ASICS knows this, and thus their GEL-Fujitrabuco 6 counts with a protective rock-proof plate that will prevent obstacles from creating rock bruises. The snug fit and support around the collar are also designed to prevent debris and other elements of the trail from getting into your shoe and interfering with your running performance.
The Fujitrabuco series isn’t particularly the cheapest ASICS footwear, but it’s not the most expensive one either. It slightly exceeds the average value of the list, but that’s not an obstacle considering the level of trail running performance and protection it offers. Everything in this shoe is aimed at enhancing your running form and power. The GEL-Fujitrabuco 6, in particular, is a very reputable model.
Protective enough for the trail
Flexible and responsive midsole
Lace Garage integrated technology keeps laces tucked and tense
Great shock absorption for the trail
Some users expected the shoe to be lighter
Not water resistant; water may breach in during trail runs
11. ASICS GEL-Cumulus 18
When one layer of ASICS’ GEL Cushioning System isn’t enough, the GEL-Cumulus 18 makes use of the rearfoot and forefoot technology at the same time. The distribution of gel in both areas of the foot considerably reduce the shock upon impact, also relieving the foot when the toes are taking off. The gel not only makes it much more comfortable to run, but it also protects your feet from impact bruises and heel pain.
With the sole purpose of increasing comfort and delivering a smoother internal shoe experience during your performance, the GEL-Cumulus 18 is constructed of seamless materials. Aside from being arguably more comfortable, seamless material considerably reduces the possibility of the shoe creating irritation and friction from the traditional stitching of the materials. Seamless materials are likely to be more durable as well, as their integrity does not depend on a single set of stitches.
The GEL-Cumulus 18 is one of the best investments you can make. Its price is ridiculously below the average value of the list, and that’s not normal to hear. This is possibly the best edition from the Cumulus series so far, and you can get it for under 1/3rd the price as the freshly released ASICS models.
Built with no seams
Distributed GEL cushioning
Ideal for long runs
Comfortable enough to stand for multiple hours
Wide variety of color options to choose from
The shoe doesn’t stay true to its sizing; verify the official sizing chart before making a purchase
12. ASICS MetaRun
Introducing some of their exclusive new technologies, ASICS incorporated a new midsole compound on their MetaRun release. This piece of midsole technology generates a unique bounce-back system that stays responsive no matter the distance.
ASICS is known mostly for their signature GEL Cushioning System technology, which consists of their patent compound for shock absorption. However, things take a twist on the MetaRun release, as ASICS incorporates a different compound this time. Their X-GEL compound is a new high-level hybrid gel that counts with enhanced absorptive qualities. So far this technology has only been implemented in the MetaRun design.
The MetaRun wields a pretty scary price tag, and is certainly not something everybody is willing to afford (or just can’t). However, it is so much above the average value for a reason; the ASICS MetaRun is packed with new and exclusive technologies that have been freshly engineered by ASICS. This shoe is possibly one of the best ones out there if you can afford yo buy them.
Features a lot of high-end technology
Exclusive X-GEL compound in the midsole
Incorporation of FlyteFoam midsole technology
Lightweight and fairly responsive
Costly in comparison to other ASICS shoes
Just one color option, and it’s a light one
13. ASICS Noosa FF 2
ASICS has carefully designed the Noosa FF 2 to deliver greater forward impulse and reducing strain and stress on the lower limbs. A 10mm heel gradient helps our body shit into a forwarding position, taking away most of the stress generated by our body mass on shoes with a neutral heel gradient. This inclination will not only help you run faster as you make smart use of your body mass, but it also reduces a lot of stress in the long term.
You’d be surprised at what ASICS can make from shoe eyelets. Because every second is worth gold in triathlons, the Noosa FF 2 has employed an independent eyelet system that is strategically placed in the smartly disperse lace tension. This creates a personalized environment for the fit of your specific foot, ultimately increasing comfort on the upper portion of the shoe.
The second edition of the Noosa FF is pretty similar to its predecessor in many aspects, including the cost. It pretty much holds the average value of this list, which makes it nor cheap nor expensive. What it is for sure, though, is a high-quality running shoe. Now featuring FlyteFoam technology, the Noosa FF series start taking a much more attractive approach.
Intuitive lace tension dispersion
10mm heel gradient removes stress from the lower limbs
Excellent for fast transition during triathlons
Supports long distance running comfortably
Wide feet users may require a bigger size to obtain more toe-box space
14. ASICS GEL-Kenun MX
A carefully designed outsole pattern counts with a deep vertical flex groove that moves away from the tooling along the line of progression to enhance the range of motion efficiency. Additionally, the Guidance Line technology assists the foot in assuming a neutral stance on each gait, perfecting the running form and reducing the chances of injuries because of feet misplacement upon impact.
One of the biggest problems faced by runners is the excessive sweat and odors within the inner build. This is why ASICS incorporated an OrthoLite lasting to the inner build of the shoe. This material is not only soft to the touch, but it also acts against shock as cushioning. Furthermore, its moisture-wicking properties prevent the development of odors and bacteria within the shoe.
The GEL-Kenun is not necessarily the most successful ASICS series, but that doesn’t make it any less of a professional running shoe. Its cost is slightly below the average value, which isn’t really something that empties your wallet. One thing is for sure – the GEL-Kenun is straight quality, and not a shoe that will disappoint you as a neutral runner.
Moisture-wicking finish prevents odors and bacteria
Guidance line technology keeps the foot in a natural stance
Excellent for long-distance running and walking
Suitable for the road, the grass, and the floor
The GEL Cushioning System is limited to the rear-foot only
Only three available designs
15. ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 2
The GEL-Quantum 180 2 MX has one important mission; to optimize the weight of their shoe as much as possible without compromising its structural integrity. Every aspect of this shoe is not only optimized for performance, but also for weight. A careful selection of synthetic materials allows you to get the most out of the shoe, while still making it weight less. The lightweight ride is ideal for long-distance running and walking.
Trusstic System® technology
The Trusstic System technology is a very particular addition to the GEL-Quantum 180 2 MX. This technology has two purposes; contributing to the lightweight construction approach of the shoe, and keeping the support and integrity of the upper build. This initiative reduces the weight of the sole unit without affecting the structure of the frame of the shoe. The result is a lightweight, supportive, and highly stable running shoe, the ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 2 MX.
The GEL-Quantum comes back in its 180-2 MX edition, featuring not only an average cost, but also new technologies. Its lightweight approach beats its predecessor by far, being one of the lightest shoes designed by ASICS. This Quantum release is equipped with the Trusstic System technology, and its performance level is considerably above the average running shoe.
GEL cushioning on both the rear and the front
Solyte midsole material
Removable OrthoLite sockliner
Seamless construction creates even further comfort
Long-distance running lightweight approach
The profile of the shoe is a bit high and may become an obstacle when performing forceful movements to the sides
Like a motorcycle racer‘s tire or a head chef’s ingredients of their signature dish…shoes are the lifeblood of us runners. Without them we would literally not be running very far. The right shoe can be the difference of seconds off your 5km time or minutes off your marathon time. The right shoe can also mean the difference between wanting to go for a day ending jog or finding that excuse stopping you from lacing up. You may not know it, but that bad run may not be because of you or your day… it could be because you either need a new shoe or a slight size, shape or style adjustment to your current shoe.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Asics Running Shoes
In the modern era of technology and performance-enhancing features, a shoe that lacks performance technologies is considered obsolete. Don’t get it wrong – shoes that lack technology may still be worth using if their design and construction are good. However, they don’t compare to those shoes that have been technologically designed to offer enhanced features.
Some people would be surprised by the amount of technology that goes on inside a running shoe. When looking for the best ASICS running shoes, we carefully inspected the technologies involved in each of the running shoes put up for evaluation. For obvious reasons, we gave a slight preference to the shoes that involve more and better performance-oriented technology.
Unlike some users believe, technology does not necessarily involves mechatronic components or digital activity. The technology is anything that can reduce human effort or make a task simpler. In the world of performance footwear, any feature that enhances your performance or reduces the effort required to perform is considered technology.
The more of it you can get in a shoe, the better. But over quantity, you should always be looking for quality. Something as simple as a lacing system that makes better use and distribution of the tension in the laces is considered technology. Of course, there are advanced technologies just like there are simple ones.
ASICS in particular counts with a huge variety of technologies oriented to sports performance. They’re constantly on the hunt for new technologies, lighter and more compressible materials, greater absorption through the gel, and so on. That is in part what defines a quality shoe manufacturer.
We’ll give you some insight on specific technologies developed and used by ASICS in their best running shoes. If you’re looking to take your performance to its most optimal level, then these technologies should give you an idea of what to look for:
- Two Density Midsole™
This technology was designed to boost the speed of footwork and sudden, forceful movements in sports that call for constant and synchronized feet movement. By using two types of midsoles, tennis and basketball players can turn and move much faster and smoother.
Both midsoles count with different levels of hardness that derivate from the different material densities. The two midsoles work together to adequately change their structure in relation to the pressure applied to them during movement. This allows for a much faster reaction. Depending on the sport and the purpose, the characteristics will vary.
For example, a user who practices table tennis counts with a low-hardness midsole material to support quick and smooth lateral motions. Handball and basketball shoes, on the other hand, have a high-hardness midsole material located on the exterior side of the forefoot. This reduces lateral swinging of the foot when performing a side turn.
The Two Density Midsole™ smoothens forward and lateral motions as well as spins and turns, as they’re highly-important aspects of many court sports. The purpose of this technology is to assists the user in conducting such motions properly. By having a second midsole, cushioning properties are also improved.
The FluidFit™ technology is a combination of materials used to optimize the fit of the upper build. This is done by providing a mesh upper that is composed of two parts; a non-elastic part that acts as a reinforcement, and an elastic part that creates responsiveness as the foot moves inside the shoe.
What it does is keep the foot in place in a stable manner as the user runs. While the foot is moving inside the shoe, the intuitive mesh upper will hold it in place thanks to its non-elastic portion. At the same time, the elastic motion will adapt to the foot movement, reshaping itself around the foot and delivering support at all times.
FluidFit™ technology provides a mesh upper consisting of a non-elastic (reinforcing) part and an elastic part, which improves the responsiveness to the foot movement while maintaining a comfortable fit. This reduces the instability of the foot during running and increases running efficiency.
Some parts of the foot’s surface change considerably while running, while other parts not so much. FluidFit™ technology holds the parts that don’t move in place while allowing the elastic parts to stretch according to the shape change of the foot.
- Solyte midsole
You’ve probably heard about a material called ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). It’s become pretty popular amongst shoe manufacturers, as it delivers a spongy effect that beats rubber and weight much less. What you may not have heard of, though, is ASICS new material, solyte.
Solyte is twice as light as EVA, meaning it weights half. Aside from that, solyte delivers 20% more shock absorption during impact activities like running. It meets the high levels of demands by elite running and triathlon athletes. This very same material is found on the bumpers of cars; its absorption properties are so good, that they’re used to protect lives. For the first time, ASICS incorporated such material into the world of sports footwear.
Solyte is a resilient resin that has greater foaming properties than most other midsole materials in the market. It’s also much more compressible, meaning it will deliver a more powerful bounce-back every time it decompresses in a running gait. It’s much lighter and efficient than most other sponge-like shoe materials.
Normally, reducing the weight of a material means hindering its properties. But this is not the case of solyte, as they developed a custom resin blend that keeps functionality at the top while obtaining a lower weight.
We decided to make comfort one of our criteria for evaluation because it’s a key aspect to the performance of any sport. If we’re talking about running, a sport that relays mostly on our feet and legs, the comfort of feet is a paramount factor to consider.
Many users underestimate the importance of comfort at the time of performing. The comfortability of a shoe has two impacts on people: a physical and a psychological one.
On the physical side, you won’t be able to perform if the materials irritate your skin or if the fit is not right and doesn’t allow for toe movement. Blisters and calluses are also a possibility, and they’re an obstacle that will prevent you from performing any sort of sport until they are cured.
The psychological impact is pretty simple too. Place yourself in discomfort and then try to focus on a particular task with all you’ve got. You just won’t be able to. In order to access your full performance potential, you must not be distracted or annoyed by your equipment.
You should always avoid forcing yourself into uncomfortable shoes. In most cases, a shoe is uncomfortable because there’s something wrong with it in relation to your feet. It may be that they’re too tight, that they hurt your skin upon friction, or that they’re causing damage to your foot. Pain can be very easily confused with discomfort, and if you continue performing in a shoe that hurts your foot, there will be consequences.
The thing about comfortability is that it’s not something that comes from a single area or element of the shoe. For a shoe to be comfortable, all of its elements must work together optimally. Having the most comfortable midsole in the world is of very little use if it’s accompanied by a crappy upper build that irritates the foot. Any element that creates discomfort will counter any other comfortable element in the shoe.
In some cases, users are not able to determine the elements that contribute to the comfortability of a running shoe. We’ll explain a bit about each of them below:
Cotton is a very soft and comfy material, for example. However, a shoe that features a build made of cotton is of very little use. The perfect materials for running shoes are those that feature both comfortable and functional properties at the same time.
It’s important to note that in this era of synthetization, traditional materials like rubber are quickly staying behind because of new materials like TPU. Each element of the shoe is being optimized with materials that have modified qualities to serve better each region of the shoe individually.
In order to be comfortable, a running shoe must comprise materials that are flexible, versatile, durable, and soft to the touch (only those regions that touch the skin).
No performance shoe should ever lack breathability unless it’s specifically designed to retain heat during cold seasons. In a sport like running, where feet have a vital role, the breathability of shoes is no longer an option; it should always be a paramount factor to consider. If you’ve ever practiced sports with closed shoes you’ll know what we’re talking about. There’s a variety of consequences that come from the lack of breathability. The first, and biggest one is overheating.
Our body produces its own warmth, and the more we move, the warmer it gets. Our feet are no exception. Runners experience more heat around their feet than normal for obvious reasons; if aside from the heat we already generate, we expose our feet to further heat that has concentrated inside the shoe, irritation is certain.
Irritation may not get your foot cut off, but it may easily prevent you from performing the next day. Asides, not letting the concentrated heat to leave will also increase the amount of sweat you produce. At the same time this has further consequences; decrease of internal traction, development of odors, and appearance of bacteria, fungi, and athlete’s foot.
The best ASICS running shoes are those that count with enough padding on the inner build. Of course, we’re not talking about any padding, we are referring to soft, high-quality padding. But before going on, it’s important to know what’s padding and how it differs from cushioning.
Think of cushioning as if it represented a pillow, and padding as if it represented the pillowcase. The purpose of cushioning is to create a softening effect, normally delivered by materials that compress under pressure creating a light “sinking” sensation. This is what would happen when you put your head on the pillow.
Padding, on the other hand, is a layer (or multiple layers) of materials with the sole purpose of improving the contact between the skin and the frame of the shoe. It’s also known as the shoe lining, which is the thin layer of material that covers the interior build of the shoe. This is the only material that actually touches the foot’s skin, and thus its sole purpose is to deliver comfort by creating a soft sensation.
It’s highly important that the padding materials are soft and don’t provoke any sort of irritation when rubbed against the skin. When looking for the best ASICS running shoes, wear low socks when trying them so you can feel how your skin reacts to the padding material.
- Performance features
As we previously mentioned, comfort is something obtained by making all the parts of a shoe work together. Each performance aspect of a shoe has a purpose, and when such purpose is not met, our feet may easily enter in discomfort.
Think of shock absorption, for example. It’s not a feature meant to comfort the feature, but rather to prevent shock from affecting our joints and muscles. In reality, it serves more protection purposes than it does in comfort. However, if shock absorption fails for whatever reason, your feet will be exposed to impact – and the pain from it will generate discomfort.
Just like this one example, every other aspect of the shoe that involves performance can easily have an impact on your level of comfort. Comfort is like a pyramid of poker cards, where performance features sit on the bottom. If you remove a feature that is essential for proper performance, comfort will collapse under its own weight.
The weight of a shoe has become a popular factor to consider amongst runners and other sports practitioners. Each day, lighter shoes are more demanded; not only in terms of quantity, but users also call for shoes that are even lighter every time. You may have noticed a constant race amongst running shoe designers regarding who offers the lightest (and most functional) shoe.
Before proceeding, know that in most cases, reducing the weight of an object also means reducing its qualities. Depending on the sport you’re practicing, this may be an advantage or a disadvantage. Regardless, the weight of a shoe should only be optimized to a point in which the performance qualities are not critically affected.
ASICS generally makes light shoes, and in some cases, they make some of the lightest ones on the market. But, the most important thing is that those shoes are highly functional while being ridiculously light.
Our criteria are meant to be applied to running shoes. However, if your practice calls for a lighter shoe over a better shoe, then get the lighter one. Also keep in mind that preferences play a role here, and you may simply feel better with a lighter shoe although not as good. At NicerShoes, however, we believe that functionality beats weight. For us, a shoe that weighs 8oz and has an 85% functionality rating is better than one that weighs 6oz with a 75% functionality rating.
A shoe that is too heavy requires a greater effort to lift off the ground. While such amount of effort is meaningless in one gait, it can quickly add up as you start running. A lightweight shoe will save you some effort in each gait. At the end of the run, when you’ve performed over a thousand gaits, your feet and muscles will certainly feel the difference in the shoe’s weight.
There are two principal characteristics of a shoe that are involved in its weight:
A material is called dense when its molecules are heavy. For example, 1ml of EVA weights 5mg, whereas 1ml of solyte weighs just 3mg. Despite both having the same amount of material, 1ml, solyte is lighter; this means that it’s less dense than ethylene-vinyl acetate.
However, you don’t necessarily want to opt for less dense materials. A dense compound will have more matter in 1ml than a compound that is not as dense. This means you’ll be able to fit more of the material, 30g for example, inside the same space where you would only be able to fit 20g of the less-dense material.
If the space we’re talking about is the midsole, for example, the denser material would be able to offer better absorption properties, as there would be more matter within that space. This would make the midsole heavier, of course. It’s a matter of what objective you’re trying to achieve. Is it lightweightness, better absorption, or a middle ground between both?
The problem with reducing the weight of a shoe is that its qualities are reduced with it as we explained previously. At the same time, a lighter shoe also means a thinner shoe. Not only does a lighter shoe offer lesser performance qualities (in most cases), but they’re also likely to endure much less.
Think of air mesh, for example. That material is nearly weightless, but it offers very little to no resistance and protection at all. In fact, it’s known for being one of the materials that break the most in shoes. A shoe made entirely from mesh would be extremely light, but it would take little effort to rip it apart.
Because of this, it’s important to consider the qualities of the materials aside from their weight. The best running shoes are those that, aside from being lightweight, offer abrasion-resistant properties and a certain level of resistance. As you can probably guess, a shoe that breaks easily is no good, no matter its level of performance or what it weights.
This is one of the most important aspects in running shoes. As you’ll know by now, running is a high-impact activity. The sport involves a considerable amount of impact, not just regarding the force of each impact, but also the continuity of it. As a runner, you’re constantly exposed to stress generated by the force of each impact.
Shock absorption is what prevents this energy from hurting your feet. The more absorption there is the less energy that gets into your body. Don’t get it wrong, though – the impact will always make its way into your body, no matter how good the shoe is. Shock absorption is not meant to neutralize impact, but to hinder it.
The thing about shock absorption is that, unlike other features, it not only affects our feet but rather our whole body. If the shock is not regulated or absorbed, it will make its way up all the way from your heel to your spine. All the joints and muscles in the way will be affected. While the impact of one gait won’t hurt you, repetitive running in poorly-equipped shoes can lead to disaster.
ASICS in particular counts with a highly-efficient shock absorption system, known as the GEL Cushioning Technology. It basically consists of a layer of a patent gel-like substance that lies within the midsole of the shoes. This gel does a great job at dispersing shock and creating a cushioning effect on each step.
Some ASICS shoes count with rearfoot GEL cushioning, whereas other shoes count with two individual layers of the gel; one on the forefoot, and one on the rearfoot area. They’re always located inside the midsole.
The lack of an effective shock-absorption system can lead to serious damage on feet if not attended or if repeated excessively. On minor cases, users are likely to experience heel bruises which may impede them from perming for a short time lapse. However, the lack of shock absorption will have long-term effects on the joints, ultimately being capable of affecting your posture.
The midsole of the shoes is the only element that is directly responsible for the shock absorption process. While other elements participate in diminishing shock, it is the midsole that has the most influence on the process. This is why most shock absorption technologies are normally located within or around the midsole area.
Midsoles vary greatly in size, shape, material, and purposes depending on the sport they’re meant for. In the case of running shoes, a midsole normally features a medium height; not too low to fit more material, and not too high to not affect the stability. But in reality, what matters the most are the technologies and the material of the midsole.
Materials like EVA and TPU that are spongy and foam-like count with excellent absorptive properties; far more efficient than traditional rubber. However, an important factor to consider is the compressibility of the material. It has a lot do to with responsiveness, also known as bounce-back.
The bounce-back is an innovative system that, instead of dispersing shock, makes use of it to compress itself and then impulse to the user forward when decompressing. This way, aside from absorbing shock, the midsole is used to accumulate impact energy and use it to increase the user’s performance.
Flexibility & Support
A shoe that lacks flexibility is of very little use, and certainly useless in a sport like running. The best running shoes will never restrict your foot from bending or arching naturally. ASICS shoes in particular normally offer high standards of flexibility.
Flexibility is something that should be present on the sole, which is the area of the shoe that represents the underfoot. The middle of the sole would represent our arch in the human feet anatomy, which is why it’s the most flexible point of a shoe.
However, the upper build also requires a certain level of flexibility. This is because our feet assumes a wide variety of different postures as we run. Its shape varies a lot, and a stiff, non-flexible upper build will restrict most of these motions. For runners, it’s highly important that shoes allow their arch and upperfoot to bend and flex freely.
The lack of flexibility will place a considerable amount of stress on the arch of our feet. Think of shoes as a foot that covers ours; its objective is to mimic the foot as accurately as possible. Knowing that flexibility is paramount for the human foot, a shoe that has none of it won’t get you too far really, especially in a sport like running.
Flexibility is not something you want to overdo either. The more flexible the shoe, the less firm and stable it is. You don’t want your shoe to lose its structure in order to gain more flexibility. You only need such feature to an extent in which you can bend your arch and move your foot comfortably inside the shoe. The best running shoes are those which offer a healthy balance between support and flexibility.
If a shoe lacks support, our feet will swing and dance around the shoe in total asynchronization. The support not only improves the fit of the shoe, but it also prevents out feet from overpronating and supinating. The objective of holding our feet steady is to prevent them from assuming an unnatural position.
If the foot is misplaced or disoriented upon impact, the user is much more likely to suffer an injury. On the other hand, a highly-supportive shoe will keep the foot in a totally natural and neutral position, preventing it from rolling inwards or outwards excessively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to choose ASICS running shoes?
A: The first thing to consider is the activity you’ll perform. Are you just going to run on the pavement around the park? Or are you considering trying some trail running as well? It’s highly important to consider the activity you’ll do before purchasing a specific pair of ASICS running shoes.
Next, you must analyze if you’re a neutral runner. This refers to your ability to pronate. If your pronation is normal, then you’re a neutral runner and should opt for a neutral ASICS running shoe. If you’re an overpronator, then you must consider a shoe meant for overpronators – ASICS has multiple.
Lastly, we recommend following our criteria and purchasing advice in order to make an effective purchase that will fulfill your needs and avoid returns or poor experiences.
Q: How often to replace ASICS running shoes?
A: ASICS is one hell of a reputable brand. If their shoes are known for something, it’s not for tearing apart early in the game. An ASICS running shoe can easily endure over a year and a half if taken care of properly.
It’s impossible to tell exactly how long a shoe will last. However, you can identify the different elements and their state to determine if the shoe needs replacement anytime soon or not. For instance, a squeaky shoe is a clear sign that the midsole is done for good.
The gradual loss of grip is another clear sign of degrading. We recommend replacing your shoes as soon as they start to present any major flaws. Running is an activity that can be troublesome and hazardous if your shoes don’t function properly anymore.
Q: How to wash ASICS running shoes?
A: Before proceeding with any shoe, not just ASICS, it’s paramount that you verify the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the matter. These instructions may come as a label on the shoe or in the box they came.
Some materials may react poorly to certain washing products. This is why you must check the instructions. Never throw on the washing machine or the drying machine unless the instructions point otherwise.
Those 2 machines make the shoe spin around hitting the drum all the time. This is bad for both the shoe and the washing machine. Lastly, let them dry away from the sun to prevent sun stains on the material.
Q: What are the best ASICS running shoes?
A: This really depends on what you’re trying to do. There’s a huge variety of ASICS shoes that cover different purposes, each of them being the best shoe in their category. If we’re talking about neutral running shoes, then the best are those listed in this buying guide.
We’ve carefully researched and examined a large list of shoes in order to come up with the listed products and their specific positioning. As you can probably guess, the closer to the top they are, the better the shoe – under our criteria. However, you may find the last shoe on the list to be the best one for you based on personal preferences.
Q: What are neutral running shoes?
A: Neutral running shoes are those that are meant for users with no problems regarding pronation or supination. Neutral runners are those who pronate normally at the moment of performing a running gait. Most of the shoes on this list are neutral running shoes, but some other are meant to assist overpronators.
Check the description of each product before making a purchase in order to identify the neutral ones. It’s not too bad that you use a shoe for overpronators as a neutral runner, but overpronators may find high discomfort in neutral running shoes.
Q: How should running shoes fit?
A: A running shoe should fit like any other performance shoe. Needless to say, they must be true to their size, but most importantly, true to your size. When running, a shoe that bounces back and forth is no good. Look for a fit that makes your shoe and your foot become just one element.
The support of the shoe has a lot to do with the quality of the fit. A shoe that lacks support will be loose regardless of its size in relation to yours. Lastly, lacing your shoe correctly will improve the fit on the upperfoot.
Q: Where to buy ASICS running shoes?
A: ASICS is one of the most popular running shoe brands in the whole world, and thus their products are not hard to find. Their retail stores are abundant, as well as other minorist stores which resell ASICS running shoes.
Online purchase is a much more popular choice, though. We’ve already gone through many Amazon publications in order to find the cheapest and most trustworthy sellers of ASICS running shoes. Additionally, in a platform like Amazon, you’ll have access to a much wider variety of models and colors to choose from.
Note that Amazon’s customer protection will prevent your money from frauds and fake products. If purchasing from the manufacturer or an official distributor on Amazon, you still have access to the original guarantee of the product.
Q: What type of running shoes do ASICS make?
A: ASICS make a very, very large list of different products, including running shoes. When it comes to footwear, they mostly focus on designing and manufacturing neutral running shoes. However, ASICS covers many other needs, such as trail running shoes and shoes for many other sports.
At the same time, ASICS counts with a variety of models that are meant for special conditions. The GEL-Kayano 24, for example, is a running shoe aimed at overpronators who normally suffer while using neutral running shoes.
Q: What is the best ASICS shoe for overpronators?
A: Our professional recommendation would be the ASICS GEL-Kayano 24, as its equipped with that bit more of support to lock your foot in the right position through each running gait. However, there’s another product for overpronators on this list; the GEL-Surveyor 5.
While we believe the Kayano 24 is superior, the Surveyor 5 is also an excellent shoe. Regardless of the choice you make, we believe both products will be satisfactory. Additionally, the Surveyor 5 may simply be better for your personal preferences, and that would be totally fine.
Q: How much do ASICS shoes cost?
A: ASICS shoes involve some of the latest technology in the world of performance-enhancing footwear. As you can probably guess, high-end technology isn’t really cheap. However, the cost of an ASICS shoe varies on a lot of parameters, one of the most important ones being the release date. Clearly, newer products are costlier.
Aside from that, an ASICS running shoe can be found anywhere between $35 and $300. Depending on your commitment to the sport as well as your specific needs, you may opt for any range of costs. Regardless of which one you choose, know that chances are you’ll be highly satisfied with your purchase.